Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance upgrade on Thursday 4th of May 2017 from 8.00am to 9.00am (BST).

During this time our websites will be offline temporarily. If you have any questions please use the feedback button on this page. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.


Issue 32, 2012
Previous Article Next Article

Effects of cholesterol on nano-mechanical properties of the living cell plasma membrane

Author affiliations

Abstract

In this study, we investigated the effects of membrane cholesterol content on the mechanical properties of cell membranes by using optical tweezers. We pulled membrane tethers from human embryonic kidney cells using single and multi-speed protocols, and obtained time-resolved tether forces. We quantified various mechanical characteristics including the tether equilibrium force, bending modulus, effective membrane viscosity, and plasma membrane–cytoskeleton adhesion energy, and correlated them to the membrane cholesterol level. Decreases in cholesterol concentration were associated with increases in the tether equilibrium force, tether stiffness, and adhesion energy. Tether diameter and effective viscosity increased with increasing cholesterol levels. Disruption of cytoskeletal F-actin significantly changed the tether diameters in both non-cholesterol and cholesterol-manipulated cells, while the effective membrane viscosity was unaffected by F-actin disruption. The findings are relevant to inner ear function where cochlear amplification is altered by changes in the membrane cholesterol content.

Graphical abstract: Effects of cholesterol on nano-mechanical properties of the living cell plasma membrane

Back to tab navigation
Please wait while Download options loads

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 03 Feb 2012, accepted on 21 May 2012 and first published on 03 Jul 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM25263E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2012,8, 8350-8360
  •   Request permissions

    Effects of cholesterol on nano-mechanical properties of the living cell plasma membrane

    N. Khatibzadeh, S. Gupta, B. Farrell, W. E. Brownell and B. Anvari, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 8350
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM25263E

Search articles by author